On 26 February in Médina Yoro Foulah, in the Casamance region of Senegal, GRET and the National council for consultation and cooperation among rural communities (CNCR) celebrated the launch of the Citizens and local organisations mobilised for better use of natural resources (Commun) project. The overall objective of this project, funded by the European Union (EU), is to promote civic environmental awareness, through the participation of local communities in responsible governance of forests in Senegal.
For approximately fifteen years now, wooded areas in Senegal have been constantly diminishing, with a regression of 405,000 hectares of forests. Despite efforts made to reverse this trend, it is evident that technical solutions alone – such as forestry development plans – are not sufficient. It is necessary to appeal more to the environmental conscience of inhabitants and to encourage participation from local communities in the governance of forest resources, via actions such as fighting against wood trafficking, and protection and restoration of forest stands.
The project launch ceremony was chaired by the Prefect of the Médina Yoro Foulah department. The meeting brought together approximately fifty participants from all over the department, representing the various categories of stakeholders concerned by the project: territorial administrations, local elected representatives, stakeholders from local civil society (particularly farmers’ organisations, women and young people), decentralised State services, etc.
The CNCR and GRET have been working together for several years now, promoting better use of land and natural resources. Together with the members of the Committee for reflection and action on land in Senegal (CRAFS), they set up local monitoring units with the National observatory of land governance (ONGF). These units work in various zones in Senegal, particularly in Casamance, where focus is placed on the preservation of forest resources.